Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans joined the crush to view Hugo Chavez's body lying in state in the capital Caracas yesterday.
Vice president and anointed successor, Nicolas Maduro, announced that his body will lie in state for public viewing for seven further days after today's funeral to allow more people to see him.
His body will then be embalmed, so that he "will always be with the people" and then displayed in a special tomb constructed in the mountains where he first launched his revolution.
More than 20 world leaders are expected to attend the funeral, including Iran's Ahmadinejad and leaders from Argentina, Bolivia, and Uruguay.
The Obama administration has dispatched an official delegation from Washington.
International Editor Bill Neely reports on the near hysteric outpourings of grief on the streets of Caracas.